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Knowledge, Identity and the Middle Class: From Collective to Individualised Class Formation?

Knowledge, Identity and the Middle Class: From Collective to Individualised Class Formation? This paper highlights a number of strong indications of important changes in the work and labour market experiences of professionals and managers, the core of the ‘new middle class‘ (nmc) in most contemporary class theories. Following an outline of some of these changes, it is argued that several central theoretical strategies shared by class theorists - notably a residual ‘functional essentialism’ and the choice of microfoundations - prevent them from adequately theorising these changes. The paper offers an alternative approach to theorising the contemporary nmc that avoids the reductionism of many existing approaches, and that is grounded in microfoundations focused on the relation of narratively constructed identities to social action. On this basis, an account of the contemporary emergence of a new segment of the nmc, the ‘nmc bricoleur’, is outlined, and its relation to empirical studies of the changing nmc is suggested. The paper concludes with some speculations about the likely future of Anglophone new middle classes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Sociological Review SAGE

Knowledge, Identity and the Middle Class: From Collective to Individualised Class Formation?

The Sociological Review , Volume 46 (4): 34 – Nov 1, 1998

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References (44)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 1998 The Sociological Review Publication Limited. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing from the copyright holder. The Sociological Review is published by the Sociological Review Publication Limited
ISSN
0038-0261
eISSN
1467-954X
DOI
10.1111/1467-954X.00135
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper highlights a number of strong indications of important changes in the work and labour market experiences of professionals and managers, the core of the ‘new middle class‘ (nmc) in most contemporary class theories. Following an outline of some of these changes, it is argued that several central theoretical strategies shared by class theorists - notably a residual ‘functional essentialism’ and the choice of microfoundations - prevent them from adequately theorising these changes. The paper offers an alternative approach to theorising the contemporary nmc that avoids the reductionism of many existing approaches, and that is grounded in microfoundations focused on the relation of narratively constructed identities to social action. On this basis, an account of the contemporary emergence of a new segment of the nmc, the ‘nmc bricoleur’, is outlined, and its relation to empirical studies of the changing nmc is suggested. The paper concludes with some speculations about the likely future of Anglophone new middle classes.

Journal

The Sociological ReviewSAGE

Published: Nov 1, 1998

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